Working from anywhere: is it always a good thing?

It has been a while since I last posted here; a lot has happened since then. I spent the months of March to May travelling the world: in March, to Doha, Qatar, to spend time with a good friend of mine who moved out there; in March and April, to China to visit family and tour the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong (including short day trips to the cities of Hangzhou and Suzhou); and in April and May, to Chicago in the USA on a work-related trip.

IMG_5321(Riding camels in the Arabian Desert, in Qatar. Hard to get used to.)

Travel is a huge passion of mine; although since we spent only a week back in the UK after each trip getting ready for the next one (while sleeping off jet-lag, securing the right visas, and dealing with the piles of travel laundry before packing for the next big trip), I question whether travelling as much as we did in that short a space of time is really wise: the jet-lag and the exhaustion are terrible! I think I’ve only just recovered enough to start posting to this blog again, and it’s June already!

I was fortunate to be able to take my work with me for most of my time away from the UK – as long as I have my trusty laptop, smartphone and a good Wi-Fi internet connection, I can pretty much work anywhere. Working from our room in the US was fine; all I needed to do was take the six-hour time difference into account when interviewing people back in the UK for an article I was writing (a piece for BusinessLife.co on how recent global tax changes may affect business in the Channel Islands – see page 70 of this month’s interactive online magazine for the article), but working in China was a little more tricky – the Wi-Fi in our hotel was rather flaky, and producing even a short piece for PC Advisor magazine reviewing Sage One payroll software was a struggle. 

But my recent travel adventures got me thinking. As you all know, as a freelancer I largely work from home (my previous blog post was all about how to work from home in a tiny living space) or from local coffee shops… but as mentioned above I’ve also worked from hotel rooms in Shanghai and Chicago, as well as Sydney, Australia; not to mention from my cousin’s couch in Melbourne, Australia at 3AM, frantically trying to get something submitted to an editor in the UK at 5PM London time (Melbourne in December is 11 hours ahead of the UK). I like the flexibility my work offers, in that I can work pretty much from anywhere – but is this always a good thing? Personally I am quite happy to work while away abroad; it takes a bit more preparation and can sometimes be hard to get into the same mental headspace to work that comes so much more easily at home, but I like that I can do that if I wish. But someone else might not appreciate being on call while they’re on holiday, desperately trying to get away from work for a bit and enjoy some much-needed relaxing down time.

So, what do you think? Is our hyper-connected, always-within-reach-of-the-office world a good thing, or not? Also, what’s the strangest, or most unusual place, or most interesting place that you’ve worked? Please leave a comment below.

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